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Breaking the age barrier


Mission accomplished with more to come.

Tene Goldsmith has ticked off another golfing feat on what has grown to a driver's length list of achievements.

On Boxing Day at his home Poverty Bay course, the popular left-hander joined an exclusive club of golfers to have shot their age.

The 73-year-old fired even-par 72 and it could have been lower.

Goldie, as he is known, was 2-under playing the par-4 18th but found the bunker with his approach, and three-putted for a double bogey 6.

“I was hoping to break par,” he said, knowing full well that he was on target, bar a disaster, to shoot his age — a golfing accomplishment where a player shoots the same score or better than their actual age.

The percentage of players to do this, according to a couple of online sources, is 0.0000089, or less than nine per million.

For Goldie, however, it has been a matter of when, rather than if.

Currently playing off a 5-handicap at the Bay, he is one of the most consistent players around and his career is littered with successes.

The latest started promisingly. He made birdie on the first, bogey on the second, birdie on the third, then strung together eight pars.

Bogey on the 12th put him back to even-par but he made a bounceback birdie on the 13th and another on the 17th — sinking a 45-foot putt — after a trio of pars to be 2-under standing on the 18th tee.

The post-round reaction from the cool-headed Goldie was one of elation/relief.

“I finally got there.”

He had gone close before, including 2016 at his former club Gisborne Park when he posted 3-under 69 at the age of 68.

Several players in the district have preceded Goldie in the age-shooting stakes, the most recent of those clubmate Brian Morrissey.

To shoot 72 to do it, though, puts him in a special group and those who know Goldie expect shooting his age to become a regularity over ensuing years.

He's fit, quietly determined — as many much younger players who have faced him in matchplay situations will attest — and, equally importantly, rarely strays from the fairway.

Age-breaking gets a smidgen easier from February 21 when he turns 74.

In perusing digital Gisborne Herald archives dating back to 1999 for information on Goldie, the extent of his success drew a short but appropriate response . . . “wow”.

He may not have reached the heights of “legends” such as Heather Booth, Eric Gordon and Peter Rouse, but Goldie is not too far behind them on the pyramid.

The following are a sample —

1999 — Shot 2-under 70 at Gisborne Park, including three twos, one of those on the par-4 17th.

2000 — Sportsman Trophy at the Oligoi Jug men's interclub pennants.

2003 — Equalled course record at Gisborne Park — 7-under 65 — which he still holds alongside Daniel Collier and Brian Sexton

2004 — Member of the most successful Poverty Bay-East Coast team in Freyberg Masters history - 10th overall at Timaru.

2005 — Member of history-making PBEC senior rep team who beat Hawke's Bay in Bays/Harbour interprovincial quadrangular - the first time they had not finished last.

Captain of Poverty Bay (2) team who beat Tolaga Bay in the Oligoi Jug men's interclub pennants final

2007 — Teamed with Pera Turei to win the Poverty Bay open foursomes gross with a 156 (81, 75) total

2008 — His 2-under 70 at the Gisborne Thistle AFC tournament featured just 19 putts over the 18 holes

2010 — Won Poverty Bay's senior club championship and while it could not be officially confirmed, could be the oldest senior men's club champion in Poverty Bay history and the first left-hander to achieve the beat

Player of the Oligoi Jug pennants series — seven wins from seven matches

2011 — Sinks a 9-iron for eagle-2 on the 17th to beat Brent Colbert in the senior men's club championship semifinals (lost to Andy Higham in the final at age 64).

2013 — The oldest player (67) at the North Island strokeplay held at Poverty Bay

At the age of 66, he plays in his second Southland Invitational interprovincial, possibly the oldest player in the history oif the event

2014 — Won Poverty Bay's 19-man shootout final, having played eight rounds over the five preceding days as a member of the PBEC team at the Freyberg Masters at Waitangi

2018 — Birdie -2s on all par-3s at Poverty Bay in the one round

Also: Winner of multiple mixed pairs titles, has achieved golf's perfect shot — a hole-in-one — five times.

72 at 73: Tene Goldsmith has joined the elite group of players to have shot their age. He carded 72 at the age of 73 at Poverty Bay on Boxing Day. Picture by Paul Rickard

  1. Nadine Riwai, Te Kauwhata says:

    Thanks Chris, that’s one of the best reads for Dad! You captured him perfectly and his quiet achievements! Dad is one of the hardest working men ever, retiring only last year after 50 years in his field! Giving him more time to play golf of course! He and Mum also celebrated 50 years of marriage last year too! Dad is from a whanau of 15, he’s the second oldest and the oldest brother and has always been “number one”. We’re super proud of him and know he’s always extra stoked when he achieves his ‘golfing’ goals.
    Ngaa mihi
    Nadine, Annette, Kesha and Craig

    1. Reece Goldsmith, Australia says:

      Super proud of my big Bro. Golf is his passion, that’s for sure. And you wouldn’t expect anything less. An achievement only my brother could have done. Cant wait to get home and give you a lesson. 😂
      Congratulations #1Brother, Reece, Jenny, Sharnae, Kiara and Teagen 👍👌👊👏

      1. Len Taewa, Gold Coast says:

        A fine achievement from a fine gentleman. Congratulations Tene and all the best for the future. Your old working buddy Len Taewa. Chris’s dad.